Hartford Stage: Wham! City mainstay begins big renovation project
June 03, 2010
It wasn't your typical groundbreaking ceremony last week when Hartford Stage's closest friends gathered to celebrate the start of the renovation and expansion of the theater's 33-year-old Church Street facility.
Leadership donor George Estes, with a bring-down-the-house sledgehammer swing, busted a large hole in the old stage floor — after the traditional ribbon-cutting by Gov. M. Jodi Rell, a key benefactor of Hartford Stage. The proceedings were leavened with readings from scene designer Robert Edmond Jones and playwrights Edward Albee, Horton Foote, Thornton Wilder, Tennessee Williams and Shakespeare, whose works have been presented on those boards.
Why not a little theatrical sizzle to note the occasion? It was proper, considering the triumph of mounting a major renovation during hard times and the important role that Hartford Stage — with artistic director Michael Wilson and managing director Michael Stotts at the helm — plays in the city and beyond.
The Tony Award-winning theater is one of the city's prize assets. It puts "feet on the sidewalks of Hartford and introduces the young people of our city to the arts," said a grateful Mayor Eddie Perez.
The project will meet the demands of modern stagecraft, expand public restroom space and the lobbies, install new theater seats and an elevator, and make other improvements. Phase 1 is to be completed by this October and the entire project by 2013, before the celebration of the theater's 50th anniversary.
Let the magic continue.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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